Corning Fiber forecasts 70% growth in bandwidth demand

Corning Optical Fiber Europe is forecasting 60-80% growth in bandwidth demand until 2005, according to MD Derrick Wells.

The Corning forecast is in line with similar forecasts from brokerage houses and analysts. Merrill Lynch, for example, currently forecasts 85% growth through 2005. RHK forecasts 55% growth.

Wells released the forecast last week in Paris at KMI's Sixth Annual Conference on Fiberoptics Markets in Europe.

Global fibre demand totalled 110m km in 2001, down 5% from the previous year. According to Wells, Western Europe represented 25% of global fibre demand in 2001 - the second largest market in the world after North America. North America represented 35% of demand; Japan 15%; the rest of Asia 20%; and Latin America and the rest of the world 5%.

Long-haul demand declined 40% worldwide in 2001 versus 2000, according to Wells. However, metro grew 20% and access 10% over the same period. The premises market was flat globally in 2001, he said.

Total regional fibre demand in the EMEA countries was 30m km. The region experienced a 6% decline on 2000. Western Europe accounted for 86% of demand; 3% Eastern Europe; 2% Russia; 5% the Middle East; and 4% Africa.

Wells estimated cabled fibre demand in Western Europe at 20m fibre-km, a decrease of 1% over the previous year. Long haul represented 17% of the total volume; metro 33%; access 44%; and premises 6%.

Long-haul fibre demand in Europe declined 51% in 2001, at a much sharper rate than the world average. All the leading pan-European operators slowed spending and, in several cases, shut up shop altogether.

However, cabled fibre demand in the metro sector grew at substantially higher rates than world averages. Metro grew 27% last year and access grew 19%, Wells said. And the European premises sector, which experienced zero growth worldwide, grew 41% in 2001.

Wells said that Corning viewed the telecom slowdown as a "correction, not an ending. What I look for is month-to-month growth," he said. "Fibre build-outs in metro and local access construction will lead the industry out of the recession."

Al Furst, contributing editor

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